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“You fit everything in your life, because it’s really important to be balanced — I love my work, but I love my family and I love giving back,” Les Moonves, alongside wife Julie Chen, told The Hollywood Reporter of prioritizing philanthropy at the 2014 Golden Heart Awards on Thursday night. The evening highlighted the work of God’s Love We Deliver — the New York City-based organization that delivers meals to those living with serious illnesses — and its biggest supporters.
“As a television broadcaster, I take great pride in what we can do to deliver messages to people. We get a lot of knocks, but there’s also a lot of good that we do,” he told the Spring Studios room of attendees. “At CBS, we expressed that feeling on the air for many years and brought messages of important subjects to millions of viewers. But television, by its very nature, touches people indirectly, at a distance. God’s Love We Deliver touches people quite literally — where they live, in their homes and in their hearts.”
The annual fundraiser — which also drew Blake Lively (making her first appearance with her baby bump), Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto, Jamie King, Chanel Iman, Nicola Peltz, Tory Burch, Bee Shaffer, Georgina Chapman, Gigi Hadid, Carolyn Murphy and Hilary Rhoda, among others — raised over $3.9 million for the organization, which began as an HIV/AIDS awareness initiative and provides meals for people living with more than 200 individual diagnoses.
“Look how much this organization has grown — it’s a story of remarkable transformation,” said Bette Midler of the Michael Kors-supported effort. “Transformation’s a little bit of a specialty of mine: When I started my career, I was a redhead singing in bathhouses where underwear was optional for both audience and performer. And now look at me: I’m a blonde philanthropist dressed neck-to-knee in Michael Kors — now that’s a transformation!”
Honoree Anna Wintour — of whom Midler joked, “I have had more hairstyles in a day than Anna has had in 30 freakin’ years” — was presented with the Michael Kors Award for Outstanding Community Service by the designer and co-chair, who recently paired with the Vogue editor to pack 1,200 meals in two hours and is gifting the charity with an Anna Wintour Volunteer Center. Kors compared the day to I Love Lucy‘s memorable chocolate factory scene: “Lucy and Ethel have nothing on us!”
Wintour, who instead compared them to Beyonce and Jay Z, reflected on Henry Post, who was men’s fashion editor while she was at New York magazine and who quietly died of AIDS. “You are willing to bring difficult discussions out into the open,” she said of Americans’ progressive attribute. “The worst thing you can do is not talk about something — it’s just an instinct one has to fight against, I know I do.” Wintour also remembered her late interior architect Alan Buchsbaum, who decorated her first NYC home and designed her office desk of over 30 years. “The only direction I gave him was I didn’t want it to have drawers. I hate drawers because you put things away and you forget about them.” Tearing up, she closed her remarks: “Alan and Henry will never be put away to be forgotten.”
Kors also presented the outstanding volunteerism award to Richard Feldman, who has been volunteering with the organization for more than 20 years and helped it grow from its beginnings in a tiny kitchen of an Upper West Side church to its current SoHo headquarters.
Kors and Halle Berry were highlighted for their work on the Watch Hunger Stop campaign. “People who are blessed with immense wealth, they don’t always do the right thing,” said Berry of Kors. “You laugh, but it’s true; they don’t always give back.” The Extant actress then presented the lifetime achievement award to Moonves, whom she called “the most competitive guy probably in the universe, … and he demands a lot from those he works with, but only because he demands that much from himself.… He is quite frankly the rarest of business people and the rarest of human beings.”
Moonves first joked at the microphone, “I get an award and I get to hug Halle Berry — how bad could life be?” After recalling losing friends to AIDS in the ’80s — “the feeling of powerlessness and helplessness was overwhelming” — he noted that he felt undeserving of the honor (for which Wintour suggested him), but he’s learned from his daughter, Vogue contributing editor Sara Moonves: “When Anna calls, you better listen.”
The evening continued with a tribute to longtime supporter Joan Rivers — “This is just an incredibly magical place,” she said in the aired clip, which also showed her assembling and delivering meals, appearing at fundraisers and competing for the charity on Celebrity Apprentice — and a live auction, which saw Vera Wang bidding $18,000 for a walk-on role on The Good Wife and two tickets to the 2015 Tony Awards.
After guests dined on gulf shrimp, wild mushroom crostini, short ribs and sweets in the rose-covered dining room, they were gifted with tote bags containing Aerin brush sets, Michael Kors catalogs and Good Wife DVDs.
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